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  • Justin Langer’s men beat England by 12 runs in their first World Cup warm-up match, a year on from a 5-0 series loss to the hosts.
  • Australia are seeking their sixth ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup trophy this summer.

What a difference a year makes.

Beaten by England 5-0 in last summer’s ODI series, Australia’s white-ball woes were clear for all to see.

But recent evidence had suggested the defending ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup champions were returning to form at just the right time.

And Saturday’s warm-up win over England, the world’s No.1 side and tournament hosts, confirmed Australia's title credentials on the eve of the 2019 edition.

Series wins over both Pakistan and India earlier this year were the green shoots of recovery under new head coach Justin Langer.

Steve Smith was the architect of this victory at the Hampshire Bowl, compiling a near flawless ton to single-handedly lift his side to a competitive total of 297 from their 50 overs.

All the ticks and tricks of Smith in his pomp remain, and a carved six over point and a paddle over the keeper’s head for another maximum were the highlights of his 116 off 102 balls.

England had racked up 373 on this ground only two weeks ago against Pakistan and with Australia resting Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins from their bowling attack, the hosts were strong favourites at the halfway stage.

But both Kane Richardson and Marcus Stoinis aced their auditions with some fine death bowling and Australia got over the line by 12 runs.

Meanwhile, England will have to learn that the road to success is never a straight line.

And if they are to win their first-ever ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup crown on home soil this summer, you can be sure there will be some twists and turns along the way.

A mounting injury list will be their chief concern with Mark Wood awaiting the results of a scan on his troublesome left foot.

Liam Dawson also cut a finger in the field and didn’t bat, skipper Eoin Morgan was also missing.  Indeed, at one point assistant coach Paul Collingwood had to don the new kit and take the field.

Collingwood turns 43 tomorrow, safe to say this was probably not the early birthday present he was expecting.

However, England’s work in the field barely missed a beat.

Tom Curran looked bright with the new ball and Liam Plunkett, who missed three of the five ODIs against Pakistan, got some much-needed overs under his belt and finished with an impressive four-fer.

Then with the bat, with skipper Morgan injured and Joe Root rested, Jonny Bairstow and Roy were uncharacteristically demure at the top of the order to kick off the chase.

But James Vince on his home ground did well before skipper for the day Jos Buttler produced his customary fireworks to club a 30-ball half century.

He departed soon after leaving Chris Woakes, selected as just a batsman for this game, to also get some valuable time out in the middle.

But in the end they left themselves just too much to do, needing 21 off the last two overs, and their unbeaten start to the summer is over.

Next up for England is Afghanistan at The Oval on Monday for a final warm up, while Australia face Sri Lanka back here in Southampton. 

If the world hadn’t taken notice of Australia before, you can bet they have now. 

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The 2018 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup – EAP Qualifier 2017 | Samoa is the region’s qualifier directly into the 2018 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.


The following 4 teams will be taking part in the double robin tournament:

o   Fiji
o   Papua New Guinea
o   Samoa
o   Vanuatu

The team on top of the ladder at the conclusion of this event will progress straight into the 2018 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup to be held in New Zealand from January 13 – February 4, 2018.

Click here for more information about the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualification Pathway